There are so many minimalist indie platformers around at the moment, since the success of games like Limbo – like with any breakout title – there are a lot of games attempting to follow in its wake. Unfortunately this mean you need to make a really great game to stand out from the pack, lest your game is lost in the deluge of other titles attempting to do the same thing.

Fortunately Ian Snyder’s The Floor is Jelly does just that. It’s a beautiful looking, wonderful sounding, interesting and extremely well designed platformer. It’s outstanding and I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes good games. I know it might seem like I gave that opinion a bit too early but seriously, stop reading this and go and get The Floor is Jelly. Then maybe come back and see how much I got right (which is all of it, by the way).

Right, game bought and played? Good wasn’t it? Yeah it was. This is why.

The game has no overworld or delineated “levels” exactly, it’s less regimented than that. Each section consists of three branches which, once completed, allow the player to move to the next section. These can be completed in whichever order you fancy (within the section) and the game seems open to exploration; not open-world by any stretch but very much play in your own style. Levels aren’t so much ‘completed’ as ‘traversed’ – the obstacles stick about if you want to revisit and a few times I’m pretty sure I solved puzzles in an unexpected way – and you can wander back through them all if it takes your fancy. There’s even an achievement for playing the game through backwards. Everything about this game feel playful, even the achievements.

This feel of a friendly, open and relaxing atmosphere carries over to the controls and mechanics of the game too. The Floor is Jelly is as good as its word: the floor is very much jelly and this facet makes up the core of the game. It would have been easy to leave it at that – a decent game could have been spun out of that single mechanic – but Ian Snyder decided that he was, instead, going to augment this simple and fun system with a new mechanic every level, providing an endlessly surprising four hours or so.

They’re all super interesting too, and I was constantly thinking “Ooh, this’ll be fun to work out!” Of particular note are the water levels, which effectively reverse gravity (because buoyancy and other physics stuff) allowing you to catapult yourself higher by swimming lower, I would love to go through each mechanic but I want to avoid giving too much of the game away. One minor issue with this open approach means that the difficulty can be rather changeable: I met a level early on which gave me more trouble than any other I came across, which threw me slightly and broke up the flow to a certain extent.

I think I broke it.

I think I broke it.

Speaking of constantly thinking a particular thing while playing The Floor is Jelly, while reviewing games I usually try and take screenshots of interesting stuff to use in the review. Usually I get one or two, this time I got twenty-eight. The design is simple, vibrant and staggeringly beautiful. Every section is so different, and the music to go with it is just fantastic. Oscillating between Lemon Jelly, Four Tet and Boards of Canada(all of which I absolutely love), the soundtrack augments the atmosphere of the levels, providing a hugely relaxing and engrossing experience.

One final thing before I shut up. There were (possibly) a couple of stability issues: the game crashed a few times and the sound randomly turned itself off until I went into the menu and turned it back up again. However, given how the game unfolds, I’m now questioning whether or not those ‘crashes’ were intended… so that one’s a bit hard to gauge. I’d also say controller support would be appreciated, but that’s really personal preference.

Ultimately The Floor is Jelly is just wonderful. It’s interesting, involving and innovative in a way that a very few of its genre are. This is one of the all time great platformers.

Review: The Floor is Jelly
Have you not bought it yet? Like, seriously, buy it.
Pros
  • Brilliant gameplay
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Fantastic audio
Cons
  • Bit wobbly on difficulty
  • No controller support I guess?
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
10.0

About The Author

Contributor

Ben is pretty damned nerdy. If he isn't playing video games, then he's probably rolling some dice to hit goblins and thugs or designing, running and crewing a host of LARP systems. He lives in Brighton, because it's nice there. You can follow him on twitter @benrlmeredith

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